PS4 Review: From an Xbox 360 & Xbox One Owner

New game consoles don’t come every day, but this year the PS4 arrived with a collection of games, upgraded graphics, a new DualShock 4 controller and several¬†PlayStation 4 features that set it apart from the PS3 and the Xbox One.

The PS4 or PlayStation 4 as some may call it is a new PlayStation that will likely earn a spot in the hearts of gamers for years and years to come. While we are used to replacing iPhones and laptops every few years, the PS4 is designed to last almost a decade, just like the PS3.

There are many PS4 reviews out there, but this one comes from a first time PlayStation owner, who couldn’t adapt to previous PlayStation controllers and who played Xbox and Xbox 360 games against friends for the last decade. I now own the PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 and want to share my PS4 review from that perspective.

Sony’s PS4 comes with a new design that looks very nice with a glossy and matter two-tone look and sharp edges that will fit in with modern HDTVs. There are no special editions or colors yet, so you will need to enjoy the PS4 in black.

The PS4 is enough to tempt an Xbox 360 and Xbox One owner with a fast OS and focus on gaming that gets me playing fast.

The PS4 is enough to tempt an Xbox 360 and Xbox One owner with a fast OS and focus on gaming that gets me playing fast.

While it is smaller than the Xbox One, and some would argue less like a VCR in looks, we buy a PS4 for the look of games on the screen rather than the design of the actual console. There are no component connection options, just HDMI, Optical out, Ethernet, Power and USB ports. There are two USB ports on the front, and an auxiliary port on the back. There is no way to connect an external hard drive to the USB ports. There is no IR port so you can’t control the PS4 with a universal remote for watching movies or TV shows.

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The PS4 connections do not include component output, but deliver other modern connectivity options.

The PS4 connections do not include component output, but deliver other modern connectivity options.

One of the PS4 design points that we do appreciate is the slide off panel that lets users replace the hard drive with one of their choosing to add more storage. The PS4 ships with a 500GB hard drive that offers about 400GB of storage for installing games. Every PS4 game installs to the hard drive, with between 30 and 40GB of space required for a game like Assassin’s Creed IV or Killzone Shadow Fall. Users can buy games on disc and then trade or sell them later or purchase most PS4 games on the PlayStation Store on release day for the same price. Games install very fast and I like that I can start playing single player games right away.

The PS4 interface is simpler than the Xbox One.

The PS4 interface is simpler than the Xbox One.

The new PS4 software is easy to navigate and there is no lag switching between the various menu and game options. Tap the PlayStation button to go to the home screen from any game or screen. Coming from the Xbox 360 and the Xbox this is a simplistic and easy to navigate design. The PS4 system updates download in the background, just like game updates, both of which allow me to keep playing without waiting and waiting for updates. After years of waiting for updates to play games on the Xbox 360 this is a very welcome change.

Access more information about the game with a few taps.

Access more information about the game with a few taps.

There are a variety of PS4 apps available to access entertainment like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and others. The PS4 may not offer the same level of connected entertainment as the Xbox One, but the essentials are there for most users and those who need more can spend the extra $99 for an Apple TV or similar device. The one major missing feature for some users is the inability to play CDs, but that is not an issue for me. I use the PS4 to play games and occasionally watch a movie. I have three other ways to listen to my music in my living room.

The PS4 DualShock 4 controller is a major improvement.

The PS4 DualShock 4 controller is a major improvement.

The DualShock 4 controller is new for the PS4. This is larger and more refined than the PS3 and PS2 controllers. I tried to like the PS3 controller in years past, and could never get comfortable playing with the DualShock controller no matter how long I tried.

The DualShock 4 controller is easier to hold and use for extended periods of gaming. It is similar enough to the Xbox 360 controller that I am used to gaming with. Sony did a great job with the PS4 controller. If you’ve avoided previous PlayStations because of the controller it is time to head to a store and take a second look, it is that good.

Connect any headphones to the PS4 controller for private gaming.

Connect any headphones to the PS4 controller for private gaming.

The DualShock 4 controller includes a new light that developers can link to the game, to flash if you are in trouble or as another signal. There is also a small speaker in controller that can push specific in-game audio to users.

There is also a touchpad on the PS4 controller. I was skeptical of this, but it is a very handy feature. In Killzone Shadowfall this controls your virtual sidekick. Swipe up, down, left or right to change what the drone does. On Assassin’s creed you can tap this to bring up a map. It is much easier to tap on than finding a button. I really enjoy this feature and look forward to how this is incorporated into new PS4 games.

The touchpad and share button are elegantly used in early games.

The touchpad and share button are elegantly used in early games.

The PS4 controller comes with a Share button that lets users capture 15 minutes of gameplay and share it on Facebook, or stream the gaming live to uStream and Twitch. The PS4 records the last 15 minutes of gameplay at all times, so you don’t need to record before you do something awesome. The live stream can make use of the PlayStation Eye and allows users to comment on your game which pop up on the screen while you play. Personally I find the sharing more useful than streaming as I am not an expert gamer by any means, but the social aspects are a nice touch.

The PS4 DualShock 4 controller is larger and more comfortable for long term gaming, even thought the battery only lasts about 8 hours.

The PS4 DualShock 4 controller is larger and more comfortable for long term gaming, even thought the battery only lasts about 8 hours.

I did not purchase the PlayStation Camera which can interact with the controller for the PlayRoom and other features as I don’t feel it offers enough use for the $60 price. I spent cash on the Xbox Camera that was a glorified webcam and used it four times. I will wait for games to take advantage of this fully before buying one.

Assassin's Creed 4 Screenshot on the PS4.

Assassin’s Creed 4 Screenshot on the PS4.

The PS4 controller also packs in an awesome feature we wish was standard on every console. There is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the controller. You can plug-in the included mono headphone or any headphones you own. This isn’t just for chat either. If you plug-in headphones you can router all audio to the controller. This means there is no need to buy an expensive third-party wireless headset. Just plug-in a nice pair of headphones to the controller and you get chat and game audio all in one. This also means you can turn on a movie and watch in bed with headphones plugged into the controller without bothering anyone.

Killzone Shadow Fall on PS4.

Killzone Shadow Fall on PS4.

The PS4 games look very nice on the PS4, and while the difference between Need For Speed Rivals and Assassin’s Creed IV on the PS4 and the PS3 may be small, Killzone shines as an example of what the PS4 is capable of, thought he Killzone Shadow Fall gameplay is not as compelling as most first person shooters.

This time around PS4 gamers will need a PlayStation Plus membership to play games online. The PS4 comes with a 30 day trial and several launch games include a seven day trial to get you started. A year costs $49.99, though there are some deals to be found. As an Xbox gamer I see this as the price of playing a console online and one I factor into the purchase price so there is no complaint here. The PlayStation Plus membership also includes access to free games.

While the launch lineup of games is rather small, and some users may not find graphics that are immensely better than the PS3 or Xbox 360, the PS4 is an investment for the better part of a decade, and we should see games that leverage the new graphics better in early 2014. If you want to wait until then to buy a PS4 you won’t miss out on much, but don’t let talk of a small launch lineup convince you that the PS4 is not worth buying at all.

Place the PS4 vertically or horizontally in your entertainment stand.

Place the PS4 vertically or horizontally in your entertainment stand.

Overall the PS4 is a great console for gamers and users who want access to great looking games, a vastly improved controller and apps to stream video. The games are ready to play faster than on the Xbox One and the interface is simpler than the tiles used by Microsoft. Sony has a winner, especially considering the $399 price, but will still face a challenge getting Xbox 360 users to switch and leave behind a friend’s list built up over years of online gaming.

For the time being I’m still buying many of my multiplayer games on Xbox One because my friends aren’t buying two consoles and enough are not switching from Xbox to PS4 that I if I want to play them I need to use the Xbox One. This could be the biggest hurdle for Sony to overcome with the PS4.

  

Comments

  1. Michael Givan says

    This reads far more like an article you wrote to push your advertisements than it does a genuine article from someone who really does own the 360, One, and PS4. Most of what you had to say was what somebody reading off the system specifications would say and very little had to do any true hands-on experience. Oh and keywords much?

    /golfclap

    • Josh Smith says

      Sorry you feel that way. I provided my experience as a Xbox owner who used to hate the PlayStation experience. When I tell people I bought the PS4 in addition to the Xbox One these are questions they ask.

      If you want a review that pretends the PS4 exists in a vacuum you will need to look elsewhere.

      If you have suggestions for additions to the review please leave them here or email me directly and I will try to address them.

      *golfclap back atcha.

      • Joe says

        @Josh I’m curious to know, had you not had no friends on either console and you were starting fresh, which would you choose? Also, graphically, are they comparable? I can’t tell the difference but I don’t have a PS4 to judge, I’m only going off screenshots. What about multitasking, how does that function?

        I find the PS4 very vanilla. There’s nothing there that really excites me. The most curious thing about it is the choice of OS Sony has made (FreeBSD based).

        I have a friend that also owns both and he states that he enjoys the Xbox much more but I want to gather more unbiased opinions.

    • DK says

      You and all the other people that call reviews “advertisements” are troublemakers.
      It was a decent review that went into some detail about each feature. That is both advertisement and a review. You can’t really review a product without advertising it… right? If I start a draft article called “I hate the PS4″, I’ve already advertised that product, even if I give it a 0 out of 10 and say nothing about the specs.

      Josh brought personal experience into the article (referring to him not buying the camera just yet, or making use of the social/sharing part over the streaming part of automatic replays plus whatever else was written).

      People bring system specs into reviews because they use that to explain why it is a good device or how it differs to the competition. I don’t understand your logic in negatively criticising his review when he explains the benefits of all these features as well as giving it some “thumbs downs” in other areas.

    • Thomasmas Baker says

      I own the Xbox one I got it for Christmas and I personally cannot play it. I have Call of Duty Ghosts as my only game and I was very good at Modern Warfare 3 but I can hardly play! I have transitioned from ps3 as most of my friends were getting it, but I literally cannot use the controller. I am getting ghosts on ps3 and hopefully it might be. The game rather than the console

  2. Shoeb says

    Nice honest review. I have always been a loyal Xbox 360 fan and always hated the Playstations mainly because of the controllers. But this time I am going to make a switch and get my first Playstation, even though I still think the Xbox one controller is much better.

  3. Nate says

    I appreciate the open mindedness of this review, however I am partially inclined to somewhat agree with that hater’s comment up there. I want more hands on experience with the console, and comparisons to the One and 360. For example, is the controller more comfortable than the 360? Or is it just a better PlayStation controller?
    Are the graphics noticeably better than the One? (Blind Tests)
    Is the touchpad natural to use? Or does it just work well? There is a difference.
    As far as the headphones plugging into the controller for audio, is it 5.1 or stereo? Is the sound quality as good as say, an Astro MixAmp? Or is it merely a nice to have feature? Is it laggy?
    You own the console, you can go into much more detail with a lot of this. I would really love if you did.

    • DK says

      Hey Nate.

      I can tell you that the touchpad feels quite natural to use. You do move your hand a bit to touch/swipe it but that feels natural too after a few hours of doing it here and there.

      It’s very sensitive. I’ve never had to swipe twice due to it failing or not being sensitive enough. Basically it’s as sensitive as an uncircumcised knob.

      Unfortunately I haven’t experienced the side-by-side graphics with Xbone so can’t help you there.

      The controller audio is pretty good for chat and game audio. I haven’t tested it with a Blu-Ray movies to see if there is a delay as that is where it would count the most. You don’t see mouths moving too much in games like Killzone and they aren’t that realistic anyway.

  4. Aaron C. says

    After reading tens of PS4 and Xbox One articles, I found this article quite unique. It appears to be honest. I am a 360 owner myself, who recently switched to the PS4, and I can echo the same sentiments. I may get an XB1 in the future, but having a PS4 as of now has not left me wanting.

  5. Grace says

    Nice article sir. But one thing I want to mention that the developers have designed games along with their cheats. This make the game alot of easy for the folks who wants to play game in a simplified manner. But when I checked in other websites for PS4 cheats (like http://www.ps4cheats.com/) I found they were not active.

  6. Ikhtiar Hossain says

    Thank you so much for this review Sir. I would like to know what is the price of PlayStation 4.

  7. sinn1 says

    I enjoyed the article as well, I also own both consoles. Most games you cannot tell the difference. However you can see a difference in Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty. The PS4 has a slight edge with Call of Duty: Ghosts. Battlefield 4 looks noticeably better on the PS4 from the colors (almost bland when compared side by side), lighting (darker picture on the Xbox One). The aliasing looks better on the Xbox One however. I am having a peculiar problem with Call of Duty, for some reason trophies are not unlocking for me even though I am meeting the requirements for them. I would say the differences in these games are just launch jitters and not indicative of what we will see normally when they iron out some of the kinks. For instance they are saying the 32 megs of on dye ram are difficult to use. Seeing how both of these consoles are X86 based, these types of problems will go away rather fast. So I say enjoy these consoles no matter which one you own because in the end they are both winners, and both consoles have gorgeous games to play on them…PS4 (Killzone: Shadow Fall)…Xbox One (Forza 5).

  8. Scott Saxon says

    Great review, man. Probably the one of the most honest feeling articles I have read on this and I’m growing impatient waiting for the ps4 to be more readily available. I would be tempted to try the X Box One if it wasn’t for the $100 difference. Thanks for the article!

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